Ingredients for frosting: cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, vanilla extract
Tips for making the best carrot cake bars:
Avoid these few pitfalls in order to make THEE best nut-free carrot cake bars:
Spicing up the carrot cake bars with several different spices is key.
Making it perfectly spiced is the GOAL. But, more isn’t always merrier! Try not to add in more spice than called for because you don’t want to steal the show from the natural sweet flavor of the carrots.
Use a microplane (a zester) to grate your carrots instead of the large holes on a cheese grater! The microplane creates an ultra fine carrot shred so they are evenly distributed throughout the bars instead of having big chunky grated carrots. (ew.)
Have fun with the add ons! But be careful, don’t add TOO many.
Choose between raisins or walnuts, or neither! Add in raisins (soak them in rum for ultra wow factor) or if you don’t live with anyone with allergies – add nuts! Toast up walnuts or pecans on the stove in a small skillet and add them into the batter of the bars.
Don’t add the cream cheese frosting until the bars are 100% cooled! (Typically takes 30-40 minutes for them to cool). The cream cheese frosting is sweet, tangy and oh-so perfect so the last thing you want it to do is turn into a frosting disaster on your kitchen counter and not on your carrot cake bars!
How to make carrot cake bars
You will preheat the oven to 350° F. and prep your 8×8 in baking dish by spraying with a non-stick spray.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Let slightly cool.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the butter, egg, brown sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and whisk until combined. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir until just combined; don’t over mix.
Add carrots and stir to combine. (You would add the nuts or raisins in here too if using.) Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
Bake for about 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Allow bars to cool in pan for about 30 minutes before frosting.
How to make the cream cheese frosting
In a medium bowl add 2 cups powdered sugar, softened cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract. Beat (using a stand mixer or hand held mixer) until smooth. Add/adjust powdered sugar as necessary to get desired frosting texture.